The Defence Committee published its report on ‘The Security of 5G’ yesterday. In July this year, the government announced Huawei technology would be removed from the UK’s 5G network by 2027 following security concerns.
Yesterday’s report highlights further accusations against the communications giant, and claimed there is “clear evidence of collusion” between Huawei and the Chinese Communist Party – though the report did not elaborate on what the evidence was.
It also recommends the 2027 date could be moved forward following “developments”.
The report summary states the tech group “is clearly strongly linked to the Chinese state and the Chinese Communist Party, despite its statements to the contrary, as evidenced by its ownership model and the subsidies it has received.
Having a company so closely tied to a state and political organisation sometimes at odds with UK interests should be a point of concern and the decision to remove Huawei from our networks is further supported by these links.
“However, the Committee note that developments could necessitate this date being moved forward, potentially to 2025 which could be considered economically feasible.”
The report also says China “dominates the telecommunications industry,” while the UK suffers from a “lack of industrial capacity in this sector”.
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It said the CCP had exerted “pressure” on the UK not to do so, and that it had threatened to pull out of other existing British infrastructure such as nuclear power plants.
If China went ahead with such plans, it would have “radical implications for the UK’s economy,” the Committee warned.
However, it added the government should nonetheless “carefully consider China’s future presence” in key parts of Britain’s economy.
Already, Chinese nuclear group CGN has invested billions into the construction of a French nuclear power plant in Hinkley Point, south-west England.
In addition, a source ‘close to rebel MPs’ told the Financial Times this August government officials would be looking at a Chinese project to build a nuclear power station in Bradwell-on-Sea.
Regarding 5G, yesterday’s committee report warned moving the 2027 Huawei ban forward two years could have consequences for signal coverage and “delay the 5G rollout significantly”.
As such, it considers the existing 2027 date to be “a sensible decision”.
This could be moved forward following “pressure from allies” or if “China’s threats and global position change” in a way that warrants the date being moved forward.